Mac Mini Home Theater

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by supafly99, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    #1
    I'm getting married in July and hope to be getting a Mac Mini in the near future, in which I will be using Plex and playing DVDs on it and was just curious about a few things.

    I have a lot of music on my main computer, with Vista, and plan on ripping lots of movies into mkv format soon, and was curious if I Plex could communicate with a Vista machine on a shared network to grab all my music and movies on it?

    Also, was wondering if its better to just hook an external hard drive to the Mac Mini instead of streaming over a network, which is faster?

    And lastly, does it matter if i'm ripping the dvd movies on a vista machine, i'm using handbrake and encoding them into mkv format, would it make a difference if i did it on the mini instead?

    Thanks for anybody's info!
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #2
    As long as you can share the folder over the network and it's visible to the mini, you'll be alright.

    If you're running gigabit, you won't have problems. Over wireless, SD movies shouldn't have a problem if there isn't much network traffic to contend with.

    no difference
     
  3. macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #3
    can i just ask....

    WHY MKV?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    I've had some issues with streaming mkv files, if theyre not indexed plex can freeze for a bit while it generates thumbnails. and you can't jump through the video very easily.

    Of course it could be an issue with my somewhat limited G class wireless
     
  5. macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #5
    *shakes head* lol

    gigabit ethernet ftw :)
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Location:
    Chester, NJ
    #6
    H.264 inside... 5.1 inside.

    What do you want, a QT .MOV? How 1998.
     
  7. macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #7
    hmm thats funny, pretty sure i remember .mov files being able to do that aswell..
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Location:
    Chester, NJ
    #8
    What's even funnier is that you forgot that Apple doesn't ship anything to decode Dolby Digital in QT. Oops.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    #9
    Before I start ripping everything in MKV, is one of the other formats supposed to be better???
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #10
    an mp4 container would give you more compatibility if you ever wanted to put the movies on an ipod/:apple:TV... but mkv allows you to compress to h.264 AND keep the native AC3/DTS audio (big plus if it's just going to your TV).
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    The Mad Hatter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Location:
    SoCal
    #11
    I'm sorry, but I thought by using handbrake 0.9.3 (and the Universal or AppleTV preset), you do retain the native AC3 audio track (albeit, not DTS though)?

    ...am I wrong?
     
  12. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #12
    Why would you want to decode DD with a computer?

    No, you are correct when using Handbrake. HB can only do Dolby Digital AC3 (5.1) for passthrough. If you send it DTS the best you can get is Dolby Pro Logic II (5-channel analog surrond).

    If it's USB2 or FW400, the gigabit ethernet would be faster for streaming (provided the entire chain is gigabit). IF FW800, then it's probably a wash.

    Shouldn't matter, but why MKV?
     
  13. macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #13
    how odd.... can plex not do that??


    thats what i want to know!
     
  14. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #14
    Plex, nor any Mac app, decodes AC3 (or DTS). It simply passes the digital audio to a receiver by optical that can decode AC3 (or DTS). Of course, Plex can transcode AC3 (and DTS) to analog audio, and Quicktime used to be able to passthrough, but Apple doesn't seem interested in us being able to do that.
     
  15. macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #15
    ahh righto. thanks for explaining :)
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Cittagazze
    #16
    If we could follow that up a bit: I'm contemplating the which would be better: a firewire drive or a NAS. My latest plan (which seems to change the more I read :)) is to have my Mac Pro ripping blu rays to an external FW800 drive. The firewire drive will remain connected to the Mac Pro. The Mini is just a front end to stream the media to the TV. The Mac Pro and the Mac Mini will both be hard wired (Cat6) to an HP Procurve 1400-8G, which will be hard wired (Cat6) to an Airport Extreme. So the path will be gigabit all the way.

    Given that the transfer speeds of Firewire 800 and gigabit ethernet seem to be roughly the same, then, in theory, there shouldn't be a performance difference between a firewire-drive-connected-to-Mac-Pro vs NAS connected directly to the Procurve...should there?
     
  17. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #17
    The biggest speed limitation is writing, so since you're using FW800 for this (i.e., Blu-ray rips) that would be your only issue. For playback, USB2 is plenty fast enough for Blu-ray rips using Plex, so I think your proposed system will be just fine - maybe even overkill. I have a FW400 drive connected to my Mini simply because I also have Eye TV hybrid, which struggles to record to a USB2 drive since both devices are USB2. By putting a drive on the FW400 bus, the problem is obviated.
     
  18. macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #18
    I believe you mean 5-channel "matrix" surround. AAC encoded as Dolby Pro Logic II is not analog, as it's obviously still digital audio.
     
  19. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #19
    Of course, you're right. To me DPL is a leftover from my VHS days, so I still think of it as 'analog'.
     

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